Boys in the Boat Essay

1496 Words6 Pages
Resilient Rowers of the 1936 Olympics
“In an age when Americans enjoy dozens of cable sports channels, when professional athletes often command salaries in the tens of millions of’s hard to fully appreciate how important the rising prominence of the University of Washington’s crew was to the people of Seattle in 1935” (Brown 173). As seen by this quote, America is a much different place than what it was in the 1930s. The times have changed significantly. In today’s day and age we have it all too good. The world we live in is one of leisure and not nearly as much hard work as there used to be. Back in the early 20th century the people had it pretty rough and dealt with many frightening problems of their generation such as
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Over five thousand banks closed and huge numbers of businesses, unable to get money, closed too. Those that continued laid off employees and cut the wages of those who remained, again and again. Industrial production fell by 50 percent, and by 1933 perhaps 15 million...were out of work” (Zinn). This description by Howard Zinn really paints a picture of the turmoil that was occurring in the US during the depression. The depression caused people to be afraid of the future because of all the uncertainty that came with it. This was especially true for Joe Rantz. Joe came from an extremely poor family and had been hit hard by the depression. He knew that if he wanted to rise above the depression and the sad life he lived, he would have to make the cut for the University of Washington crew team. Joe knew all too well that “failing at this rowing business would mean, at best, returning to a small, bleak town on the Olympic Peninsula with nothing ahead of him but the prospect of living alone in a cold, empty, half‐built house” (Brown 13). It was this that motivated Joe and it was this that pushed him to succeed. The Great Depression sparked the fear of an uncertain future into Joe, which is demonstrated by Brown in the quote,”Whether you were a banker or a baker, a homemaker or homeless, it was with you night and day‐‐‐a terrible, unrelenting uncertainty about the future, a feeling that the ground could drop out from under you for good at
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